As Quoted by The Wall Street Journal’s Career Website, FINS.com
It’s difficult to effectively focus our job search activities when we are still working for our ‘future’ past employer. But with a proper structure and plan in place, we can be successful with just 1–2 evening hours of efforts per day. Here’s how:
Q: How much time should I spend on my job search each day if I have a full-time job, but searching for a new position?
Naturally, we should spend as much focused time as is possible, but we have to be realistic with what that means. Most of us are struggling these days to keep up with the ever-increasing workload in our current positions. This may leave us feeling trapped and indentured to our current employers, and it leads some companies to take further advantage of their workforce. Anger, frustration and exhaustion can give way to our job search efforts stagnating and losing direction.
The best way to manage a Job Search is to run it like any other Important Project:
1. Set the Goals
2. Review Your Resources (time and energies)
3. Map-out a Strategy
4. Stick to the Plan
But what is possible, and realistic, with the 1–2 evening hours that may be available, after taking care of your other responsibilities, when currently working? It’s really as simple as stepping back and looking at the right activities that drive interaction and response from those you may be interested in engaging with during our job search process.
Q: 3 activities a Job Seeker should do in their Job Search?
The question points us toward the Elements that will become part of a mapped-out Strategy:
1. (Limited) Consistent Searching for new Job Postings / Listings
Time Limit: 30-minutes Daily
While searching for job postings can be the #1 trap that eats up our available time, as many of those postings don’t genuinely represent companies ‘ready to hire’ right now, it’s still an important element of an effective job search. We can limit the damage to our daily plan, by limiting and controlling this activity.
2. Effective Use of LinkedIn: Marketing & Marketing
Time Limit: 45-minutes Daily
Most Job Seekers don’t really understand the power of LinkedIn –or how to harness it.
I recommend 2 marketing approaches for effective LinkedIn Use:
The 1st Marketing effort is to making our Social Media Marketing effective and time-efficient.
Before beginning our daily (time-restricted) activity on LinkedIn, spend an initial 2-hours on a weekend creating a ‘25 Shares’ list. This is basic text document that you can open each time you’d like to ‘Social Media Market’ yourself, allowing you to do a simple copy-and-paste with just a few seconds of invested time.
Create a list of 25 items that you can share that shape perception about you, your place in the industry, and your skill set.
What should you be sharing through your Social Media Marketing?
– Books on your specialty (that you’ve read / are reading)
– Articles on something related to what you do, your industry or niche
– Industry White Papers that you find on the Internet
– Conferences, Workshops, Events that you attend, or are thinking of attending
– Projects that you are working on (be sure not to violate trade-secrets’ or non-disclosure agreements that you may have signed)
– Anything Else Interesting that shapes perception about you
Once assembled, you can easily open this list 4–6 times per day and copy-and-paste the next item to share in the ‘Share an update’ section of your LinkedIn homepage. Just keep rotating through your list of 25, and then refresh the basic overall list of daily shared items every month. Remember, it’s not about what your connections see, it’s that your updates can land on the home pages of the exponential number of connections that are up to 3-levels away, but still in your larger network (the people in your industry that you do not know yet). You can accomplish significant perception-marketing about you in less that 5-total-minutes per day with this technique.
The 2nd Marketing activity is to ‘Soft Market’ yourself to decision-makers.
When you find companies or jobs that you are interested in from your other job search activities, come to LinkedIn and ‘soft market’ yourself right into the minds of the decision-makers.
– Make sure your Settings are ‘open and visible’, especially your ‘Profile Views’ setting, which lets you control what others see about you when you visit their profiles (choose to display your picture, headline, and be sure to include your email address and value-positioning as part of your headline, not just your current title).
– Open the Profiles of those individuals that may be in the decision-chain for roles that you would like at the prospective employer you’d like to join. Just by doing this you have arrived on their ‘radar-screen’ as having ‘looked’ at them (as a direct link from their homepages). It’s irresistible, and they are very likely to click on you to see who’s been looking at them (human nature).
– While their profile is open, ‘add them to your network’ with a simple introduction of you as a professional in their niche.
Whether they accept right away or not, it’s another opportunity to get them to look at your profile, which when well-developed, should be a 3-dimensional sales brochure all-about-you that drives the reader to a singular conclusion:
“It’s going to be the best business decision that I make today if I hire this person.”
With the remaining 40-minutes, after the copy-and-paste marketing that you’ll do a number of times per day, use LinkedIn to enhance your communications outreach (noted next, below), you’ll be effectively using LinkedIn at last.
3 (a). Communications: Outreach Directly to Decision-makers
Time Limit: 30-minutes Daily
Now that you’ve opened those decision-makers’ profiles on LinkedIn (for the roles that you desire) and requested to add them to your network, take the next step of emailing or calling them directly.
Reach out and express why you are so interested in them / their organization (it cannot be because you need a job, everyone does), and add to your comments that you, ‘just had to reach out and introduce yourself.’ Make sure to keep it about them, and then link what excites you about them to a skill set or area of value that you would bring to their team.
Now the hard part: ask for a meeting!
It could be as simple as,
“I’d love to meet with you and share more about what I could add to your team. I have an opening on Thursday at 9 a.m., would that work for your schedule?”
Calling and emailing simultaneously is most effective, but you can communicate just by email if you are not ready to call people that you do not know.
Just remember to:
– communicate your excitement
– make it about them before it’s about you
– ask for the meeting
Meetings (better known as interviews!) are crucial to being able to better communicate why you are the ‘best new hire’ that they should consider. Just avoid the use of the word ‘interview’ to better manage expectations and avoid potential roadblocks that can stop a conversation from happening.
3 (b). Communications: Follow-up: Develop a Communications Channel, not Just 1-off Messages
Time Limit: 15-minutes Daily
Your follow-up is a test of will and persistence, and your chance to be seen more clearly when viewed in comparison of all the other potential candidates.
Follow-up also does not mean, “Did you get my resume?” –that’s just not very valuable messaging.
So, follow up with interesting new layers, like sharing an article on their industry, niche, or competitors, and ask them again for a meeting where you’d like to share more. The goal is an ongoing communication channel, not just 1 or 2 messages.
Q: What should Job Seekers to do everyday (or almost everyday) that most people don’t consider as part of their job search strategy?
No one (really) seems to want to read any more.
Information is the new currency. You have to know what’s ‘going on’ in the area that you want to work. What’s happening in the industry, with the products or services, with this company and its competitors?
I don’t count this in the ‘2-hours’, as we can read at many points and times throughout the day with a few minutes here and there –just replace our natural Web-surfing with reading the right content.
Make a folder on your browser toolbar that has the bookmarks of all the:
– industry trade-paper websites
– company blogs
– saved Google-news searches of various companies we are interested in
Each few minutes of break that you have throughout the day, use the time to read up on your potential audience.
You have to know what’s ‘going on’ to be engaging to those companies you might like to join.
Q: Is having a set ‘time period’ to conduct a Job Search effective? What are the pitfalls?
Having a set time period can give us the structure to accomplish what may seem daunting by limiting the challenge to the most important tasks.
These steps outlined for a 2-hour job search will help generate discussions and meetings. Those are the basic stepping stones that will lead us to our next successful career step.
The only pitfall to a structured time is if we use that time to waste our energies, rather than focusing in on the items and activities that will generate discussions and meetings.
We have to engage and talk with people to get hired.
Let’s remove our excuses, and focus on the steps that will help us to our next career challenge.
Taking back control for ourselves can be difficult when we are feeling less than confident in our Job Search. Structure, the right steps, and removing the obstacles holding ourselves back is the surest way toward the success waiting in our future.
Let’s Get Started & Take Back Control In Your Job Search
Author, Career Coach & Speaker
on Job Search and Career Management
Copyright © 2011 by John Crant
As seen and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, on FINS.com, on CareerBuilder’s CBsalary.com, on The Ladders, in The New York Post, The Huffington Post, in Essence magazine, in CRAIN’S New York Business, on Forbes.com, in amNY, and on CNN, BBC, FOX News, Arise TV – John shares the answers and the concrete steps for success in Job Search.
John is a Featured Speaker at The New York Public Library’s JOB SEARCH CENTRAL, as well as at the YMCA in New York City, and is a Social Media expert for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.
He speaks at Corporate Events, works with Workforce Development organizations, and teaches both students and alumni with this Self-Recruiter® Series for Colleges and Universities.
Changing the Rules: How to Be Your Own Recruiter &
Ride the Economic Crisis to Your Next Career Challenge.
Copyright © 2009 by John Crant
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